Documentary Core Application Proposal Checklist

Documentary Core Application Proposal Checklist

Documentary Core Application Proposal Checklist

The newest hope for cancer is actually one of the oldest.
Buried for a century, the metabolic theory of cancer is overturning entrenched dogma and reshaping the future of cancer treatment. 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Story Summary

The story will be told through narration, interviews with world-renown experts, original 3D graphics, archival footage, and patient vignettes.

OPENING

It’s been over 50 years since President Nixon declared the War on Cancer and over a decade since President Obama pledged to conquer cancer in our lifetime, yet science is no closer to finding a cure to the second leading cause of death in America – let alone understanding the cause. 

The highly anticipated results of The Cancer Genome Atlas project revealed little but confusion. The once heralded treatments targeting genetic mutations have been found to extend life by only months or weeks – at astronomical patient cost. 

The commonly accepted theory of cancer, that it is a disease of genetic mutation, has failed to generate meaningful results and instead spiraled deeper and deeper into complexity and expensive, whack-a-mole treatments.

OTTO WARBURG & THE ORIGINS OF THE METABOLIC THEORY

A century ago, Nobel laureate Otto Warburg discovered a simple, unifying feature of all cancers:  broken cellular metabolism that leads to cancer’s insatiable need for glucose, or sugar. His discovery, known as the Warburg Effect, is the foundation for the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan used as today’s primary cancer diagnostic tool. 

Although there is no question that Warburg’s discoveries are correct, they were marginalized, then forgotten, as research interest and funding focused on the sexier field of cancer genetics.

NEW RESEARCH

A new vanguard of scientists are resurrecting Warburg’s theories and generating shocking but unequivocal evidence that deranged cellular metabolism is indeed the primary cause of cancer. Since the publication of Dr. Thomas Seyfried’s Cancer as a Metabolic Disease in 2012, interest in this research has blossomed despite funding challenges and resistance from the establishment.

THE EVOLUTIONARY MODEL

It is magical and mysterious that such an allegedly random assortment of genetic mutations can occur so frequently and manifest as a disease with such consistent features, or “Hallmarks,” as cancer. In fact, randomness may have nothing to do with it.

The recently proposed atavistic model shows how cancer may be an evolutionary reversion to single cell behavioral programming stored deep in our DNA. Single-celled life displays the same hallmarks and the same metabolic features as cancer. 

THE FUTURE OF CANCER TREATMENT

These findings aren’t just theory. They are saving lives now.

Therapies to target cancer’s damaged metabolism, all of which can be used in conjunction with conventional standard of care, have become increasingly common in the cancer community due to emerging animal research, human case studies, and anecdotal reports of astonishing healing. 

Research for these therapies is struggling for funding and exposure. The large-scale human trials needed for FDA approval can cost over a billion dollars. Low-cost and lifestyle-based metabolic treatments don’t have the profit potential to justify the investment. Nevertheless, through non-profits and patient-funded trials, the first human clinical trial results are beginning to be published – and they are inspiring.

THE EVOLUTION OF CANCER RESEARCH

More research is needed to determine the efficacy of metabolic therapies for cancer – but that research deserves needs to be prioritized. 

The nature of science is to continually evolve. New theories replace old ones as new evidence becomes available. We cannot allow the entrenched dogma of the genetic model of cancer to prevent science from moving forward and saving lives.

The film will dissolve into a powerful montage of published case trial subjects and other vetted survivors who have far outlived their prognosis using safe, low cost metabolic therapies.

Topic Summary

It takes an average of 17 years for research evidence to become clinical treatment. How many die in the meantime?

Scientists are only now discovering that the commonly accepted view of cancer is wrong and that treatment based on old dogma is ineffective. This documentary surfaces the evidence-based, peer reviewed and published research shaping a new cancer treatment paradigm that can save lives now. 

The field of cancer research has become institutionally entrenched in the genetic view of cancer, attempting to force the evidence to fit the preferred, well-funded theory rather than be guided by data.

American medical institutions reinforce this outcome. FDA approval of potential treatments, including lifestyle recommendations, is required in order to become a part of the standard of care that can be recommended by a doctor. This approval requires a three-stage human clinical trial process that can cost over a billion dollars. Only treatments that can generate enough profit to offset the costs of both the clinical trials and marketing are viable candidates. Inexpensive lifestyle therapies or off-patent drugs have no hope of earning back the costs of approval and thus no hope of becoming FDA-approved treatments, no matter how effective.

At the same time, cancer drug approval is based on standards that don’t equate to prolonged survival. For example, between 1990 and 2002, there were 691 published articles citing a “cancer breakthrough” representing the culmination of millions or billions of dollars in research. These breakthroughs led to 71 approvals for 45 new drugs. Of these drugs, only 12 were shown to save lives, and these extended life by only a few weeks or months – at exorbitant cost to the patient. New targeted treatments based on the genetic model of cancer can cost patients over $100,000 per treatment but have been shown to extend lives by an average of 2.4 months.

Despite funding challenges, new research is beginning to show astonishing evidence that cancer can be treated differently. Interest has grown dramatically in the past six years as experiments have yielded unquestionable results and resulted in a flurry of case studies and small human trials. The results of these trials are just beginning to be released offering previously unmatched hope for cancer treatment.

Sadly, without a pharmaceutical company that can profit from these therapies, potential treatments are left to languish in medical journals as people who could benefit are left to die. 

This film will throw a spotlight on the potential of these clinically-proven safe, effective therapies that can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment to dramatically improve outcomes.

Discussions of cancer are notoriously fraught and this film will make no claims except to relate peer-reviewed and published research and no recommendations except to consult with the viewer’s medical team.

Connection Summary

One month after my 40th birthday I was diagnosed with terminal, stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to my eye, liver, four tumors in my brain, and more than a dozen lymph nodes throughout my chest, neck and abdomen. My prognosis of six to eight months with conventional treatment seemed optimistic. My doctors were focused on making me comfortable. I was dying.

One year later I was cancer free.

In that intervening year I devoted myself to studying the metabolic theory of cancer and researching the cutting-edge, evidence-based therapies that are just now being published. I contacted the heads of promising studies and was a nagging voice in their email inbox. I attended scientific conferences and met with the doctors and scientists who are shifting the cancer paradigm. I’m proud to now consider them my friends.

When I finally achieved complete remission, coloring my overwhelming joy was burning anger that so few people are aware of these published lifesaving treatments — including most oncologists. It’s not their fault. Current metabolic therapies involve lifestyle treatments that can’t be patented and inexpensive, off-label drugs whose patents have already expired. There are no cute pharmaceutical reps to evangelize them to doctors or conglomerates paying for slick TV ads with terrifying disclaimers. Instead, there is study after study quietly published in journals some doctors probably haven’t read since medical school. Those who are aware of the research are unable to recommend therapies that aren’t FDA approved standard of care without risks to their practice.

I recognize that I am incredibly privileged to have the background, education and interest that allowed me to wade through oceans of research to find the science that works.

Survival shouldn’t only be for the privileged.

This film will make the latest cutting edge research, described by the researchers and illustrated with beautiful graphics, accessible and understandable to the broader community that deserves the same chance at survival.

I have been intimately connected with this community since my diagnosis in 2018 through my blog properties, newsletter, instagram and one-on-one cancer coaching practice. This project was born from my community’s continually voiced need for a simple, easily digestible explanation of the metabolic theory of cancer and the associated evidence-based therapies. I’m so excited to be able to deliver.

Artistic Approach

Shot in 6k resolution and finished in 4k, this documentary will be unique in its powerfully dramatic, cinematic approach that will prove that cellular metabolism is anything but boring.

Immersive 3D graphics will make biology concepts simple to understand but magical to behold. The visual language will draw a parallel between the cellular and the cosmic. Rather than focusing on the exact chemical processes behind the metabolic theory of cancer, stunning graphics will illustrate a simplified version that focuses on the essential purpose of those interactions and thrill of scientific discovery without distracting with molecular terminology or exact chemical structure. The viewer experience will be more akin to looking through a microscope or telescope than flipping through a textbook.

A sweeping original score by Clearside Music will emphasize the dramatic, life-and-death stakes of the research being presented. The style, reminiscent of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, will reinforce the almost sci-fi feeling of the research being presented and the urgency of bringing it to light.

The camera moves and cinematic lighting will add energy and intensity to expert interviews, avoiding dull “talking heads.”

The humbling credentials of the world-renowned experts reporting on their published research will underscore the credibility of my thesis that science must evolve in the face of new evidence. 

Short “video diary”-style, self-recorded vignettes from cancer patients and caregivers will connect the science to the real world experience of the more than half of Americans affected by cancer. These vignettes will serve as a reminder that this isn’t an ivory tower academic exercise. Real human lives are at stake now.

Narration will assist with the exposition and transition of themes, as well as explanation of some cellular processes. While I felt it important to feature the actual scientists at the forefront of this research, these scientists are overwhelmingly older white men. In contrast, people of color are disproportionately affected by many of the issues of nutritional and medical access discussed. I do not want to create the perception that this is a white person problem or, worse, a white person solution. In addition to representing diverse cancer patients in the vignettes, it’s very important to me to connect with a narrator from a traditionally underrepresented community to serve as our guide through the story. 

Overall, the experience of viewing this documentary will be as dramatic, thrilling and inclusive as the future of cancer that is being reshaped.

Project Stage and Timeline

As of 1 February, we are currently in mid-production and will have the majority of expert interviews filmed by early March. Two of 13 interviews have been postponed due to COVID restrictions but this will not affect the final schedule. The first trailer will premiere May 2021 with the intention of attracting an A-list narrator and additional funding. The rough cut will be ready in July and the final documentary will be submitted to the Sundance Film Festival in September for premiere January 2022.

PRE-PRODUCTION – COMPLETE

  • Oct 2020-Jan 2021: Research, outreach to featured experts, purchase and training on equipment, scheduling, outlining

PRODUCTION – IN PROGRESS

  • Jan 2021: Northern & Eastern US interviews (Christofferson, Seyfried, Weinberg, Kelley, Apple, Meakin, Poff) – Complete
  • Mar 2021: Western US interviews (Kalamian, Scheck, Davies, Winters, Longo), Canadian interview (Fung)

POST-PRODUCTION

  • May 2021: First trailer complete
  • Jul 2021: Rough cut complete
  • Aug 2021: All graphics delivered, Score delivered, Final cut complete
  • Sep 2021: Sound mixing & online

MARKETING & DISTRO

  • May 2021: Trailer premiere at the Metabolic Health Summit
  • Sep 2021: Submit to Sundance
  • Dec 2021: Engage publicist & agent
  • Jan 2022: Premiere at Sundance
  • 2022: Festival circuit, secure distribution

AUDIENCE & DISTRIBUTION

Distribution and Marketing Strategy

My primary goal is to secure the widest distribution possible to inform as many as possible of this thrilling, lifesaving research.

I am fortunate that, early in production, there is already anticipation around this documentary with over 19k instagram followers, a rapidly growing mailing list of over 1k subscribers, and several high-profile advocates.

After securing a publicist and agent, I intend to spend 2022 on the festival circuit to showcase the film and secure an OTT distributor such as Netflix or Amazon Originals.

Next steps include:

First Trailer Premier at the Metabolic Health Summit in Santa Barbara, May 2021, to attract interest, an A-list narrator and additional funding.

Festival Attendance as follows

SubmissionFestival 
SundanceSeptember 2021January 2022
TribecaNovember 2021June 2022
TorontoFebruary 2022September 2022
TellurideApril 2022September 2022
Doc NYCMarch 2022November 2022

Content Marketing leveraging my existing network of owned & operated properties; close ties with the newsrooms at Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and South China Morning Post; and earned media across third-party publishers, podcasts, and more.

Intended Audience

This film is intended for anyone whose life has been affected by cancer, especially the one in two American men and one in three American women who will be diagnosed in their lifetime. 

I have been intimately connected with this community since my diagnosis in 2018 through:

This project was born from my community’s continually voiced need for a simple, easily digestible explanation of the metabolic theory of cancer and the associated evidence-based therapies. 

I’m also fortunate to have high-profile supporters, including the authors featured in this film, who are eager to promote it to their audiences. Other synergistic partnerships are planned focusing on exposure through social media marketing, content marketing, guest posting, podcasts, and traditional earned media both through my personal contacts in the media industry and those of a publicist to be attached in the months before premier.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

After viewing this film, audience members will feel fresh hope for the future of cancer treatment and be empowered to take control of their health in partnership with their medical team. They will have a deeper understanding of new cancer therapies that can be safely and effectively combined with conventional treatment to potentially extend their life or that of a loved one and insight into why these therapies have been institutionally marginalized.

A percentage of any profits will be donated to the Foundation for Metabolic Cancer Therapies.

KEY CREATIVE PERSONNEL

Maggie Jones, Director & Executive Producer

Maggie Jones has over 20 years of media experience, most recently as Vice President of Newsroom Systems for South China Morning Post and Vice President of Product for Tribune Publishing and the Los Angeles Times. Her work in journalism has honed her keen nose for a good story.

She is a stage 4 cancer thriver who credits metabolic therapies, along with conventional targeted therapy, with miraculously prolonging her life, which she has now dedicated to raising awareness of metabolic therapies.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/mjhk/ 

Brad Jones, Producer, Editor & Executive Producer

Brad Jones has over 20 years of filmmaking experience and has edited everything from a Peabody Award winning documentary to the highest-rated shows ever on MTV and CMT. He’s spent over a decade working at the Sundance Film Lab and Festival.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1129454/ 

Daniel Loyd, Assistant Editor

Loyd is an Addy and Telly award-winning producer, director and editor providing technical consulting for this film.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0523458/ 

Warren Hendriks, Sound Designer

Hendriks has over 15 years experience working on the biggest Hollywood blockbusters including Transformers, Deadpool and Tron. His work has been nominated for multiple Golden Reel awards.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1344848/

Curtis Fritsch, Sound Editor

Fritsch has a decade of experience in sound editing and sound design including Project Runway, Expedition Mars and Sisters for Sale.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4660321/ 

Capacity Studios, 3D Graphic Consulting

Capacity Studio’s cutting edge graphics have been seen on the NFL, NBC, and Activision properties. They are providing assistance in coordinating the EpicGrants proposal and Unreal Engine graphic development.
https://capacity.gg/

Music by Clearside Music

Dyche’s intense, genre-bending music has provided a background for many broadcast shows and the debut trailer for the 2014 film The Rover.
http://www.clearsidemusic.com/ 

Attached Experts

The following leaders in the field of cancer research and treatment have signed releases for their participation, most with interviews already complete.

  • Sam Apple
    Author of Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection and “An Old Idea, Revived: Starve Cancer to Death.”
  • Travis Christofferson
    Author, Tripping over the Truth, Curable and Ketones: The Fourth Fuel and Founder of the Foundation for Metabolic Therapies
  • Paul Davies, PhD
    Legendary physicist, astrobiologist and co-originator of atavistic model of cancer
  • Jason Fung, MD
    Author of The Cancer Code, The Obesity Code, The Diabetes Code and The Complete Guide to Fasting and Managing Director of the Public Health Collaboration (Canada)
  • Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS
    Author of Keto for Cancer 
  • Jess Kelley, MNT, ONC
    Co-author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer and founder of Remission Nutrition
  • Valter Longo, PhD
    Author of The Longevity Diet and cancer researcher at University of Southern California
  • Charles Meakin, MD
    Medical Director, Care Oncology Clinic
  • Angela Poff, PhD
    Co-founder of the Metabolic Health Initiative and cancer researcher at University of South Florida
  • Thomas Seyfried, PhD
    Author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease and cancer researcher at Boston College
  • Adrienne C. Scheck, PhD
    Cancer researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Robert Weinberg, PhD
    Legendary cancer researcher at MIT, discoverer of the first human oncogene, discoverer of the first human tumor suppressor gene, and co-author of the seminal “Hallmarks of Cancer,” the most cited cancer research paper of all time. 
  • Nasha Winters, ND
    Co-author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer and Program Medical Director of Pow(H)er Program global healthcare authority.

SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS

How are you feeling? Is your health a risk?

I’m incredibly grateful that my quarterly cancer scans since October 2019 continue to show “no evidence of disease.” I’m currently under the care of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

I do have progressing brain radiation necrosis from previous treatment and suffer occasional mild seizures and other neurological symptoms. This is a risk. Nevertheless, production for this film is almost complete and the footage already in the editing room. The documentary will be completed under any circumstances and I’m personally confident that I’ll maintain my excellent health through the festival and marketing period. If anything, my health situation may serve as a point of publicity.

Are you available to talk?

I would love to schedule a time to talk about the project and our funding needs via video conference or phone. Please reach out via email to set up a time.

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